Records on 4 million people stolen in huge government data breach
In what may be one of the biggest data breaches ever affecting the U.S. government, hackers broke into the systems of the Office of Personnel Management and the records of approximately four million people have been stolen. Investigators suspect hackers based in China and have linked this latest intrusion to earlier hacks into health insurers Anthem and Wellspring, the New York Times reports. An executive of security firm iSight told the Times that researchers believe the hacking group is creating a huge database of personally identifiable information “that they can reach back to for further activity.”
Facebook slims down Android app to aid the bandwidth-poor
Facebook has released a stripped down version of its Android app aimed at growing its service in developing countries and other areas with poor connectivity. The Facebook Lite app is less than 1MB in size but retains core features including the News Feed, status updates, photos and notifications. The app started to roll out Thursday in some Asian countries, and will be available in parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe in the coming weeks.
Consumers aren’t happy about giving up data for services
A new University of Pennsylvania research study coming out Friday reveals that most consumers in the U.S. aren’t thrilled with the Faustian bargain they’ve made with many online companies: free services in exchange for giving up lots of personal and behavioral data. While companies say that consumers understand it’s a fair trade, Joseph Turow, lead author of the study, told the New York Times that “what is really going on is a sense of resignation. Americans feel that they have no control over what companies do with their information or how they collect it.”
Amazon’s Go SDK one step closer with preview release
Developers who want to integrate cloud services in their apps can now take a look at the first preview of Amazon Web Services’ SDK for Go, the Google-developed open source programming language. The development kit makes it easier for developers to integrate their Go applications with Amazon’s cloud-based storage, database and messaging services.
The NSA boosted Internet monitoring to catch hackers
That massive breach of the OPM revealed Thursday will likely be seen as justifying U.S. National Security Agency tactics in the war on cybercrime: it’s reportedly intercepting Internet communications from U.S. residents without getting court-ordered warrants, in an effort to hunt down malicious hackers. The previously undisclosed NSA program monitors Internet traffic for data about cyberattacks originating outside the U.S.
NFC ring takes the medic-alert bracelet to the next level
A small wearable being shown at Computex in Taipei this week could be a lifesaver: the NFC ring can help first responders link to critical medical information simply by touching it to a smartphone. It’s made of lightweight, sturdy ceramic that’s waterproof to a depth of 30 meters and comes in a variety of colors and designs.
Microsoft puts privacy tools on one dashboard
A 128GB SSD now costs PC makers just $50
Consumers should be getting more for their money, as the average price that computer manufacturers pay for a 128GB solid-state drive dropped to $50 in the second quarter, while the average price of a 256GB SSD plunged to just over $90, Computerworld reports. Prices have been declining steadily, thanks to denser manufacturing processes: The more dense NAND flash memory is, the less it costs to produce SSDs with the same or more capacity.
Legislation takes aim at patent trolls
Lawmakers on a Senate committee are coming down on the side of those victimized by patent trolls, voting to approve a bill aimed at curbing abusive lawsuits by companies whose primary business is suing others for allegedly infringing on patents they own. The bipartisan Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
In The Wrap this week, Europeans will inspect Microsoft source code, Intel buys Altera and Asus wants to put its gadgets in your hands.
One last thing
Vive la resistance? Uber may have met its Paris match as the City of Light fights the car-hailing service.